TUGUEGARAO CITY—A dear friend, Leo S. Reyes, who died almost two months ago, must be smiling in his grave at the Sanctuary of Peace memorial park here.
A former scribe before he became a regional trial court judge, Leo longed for the day when this bustling city, his hometown and Cagayan’s capital, would become a sports hub among provinces.
In death, Leo’s wish could be coming true with the staging this week of the Private Schools Athletic Association (Prisaa) regionals at Balzain campus of the University of Cagayan Valley.
Funding for the meet certainly is not courtesy of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Cagayan’s most famous son. Manong Johnny’s latest mind-blowing move was gifting most of his fellow senators P1.6 million each in additional maintenance and other operating expenses, MOOE for short, last Christmas.
With 13 events on the collegiate level, Prisaa is among a smorgasbord of athletic bowls organized by public and private schools. The idea is to chart the next firmament of sports stars, but the Philippine Sports Commission does not put a premium on Prisaa competitions.
Planners at the PSC and its Siamese twin, the Philippine Olympic Committee, do not think of the Prisaa as a little search engine that could—although Lydia de Vega-Mercado, one of its alums, went on to become arguably the country’s best track star. That’s because the sports bloc of private schools hold competitions without regard to the overall sports calendar.
“Scouts in search of potential members of the national athletes’ pool are not at the Prisaa because we are not informed. We don’t even know that its games are on the sports schedule,” says POC spokesperson and first vice president Joey Romasanta.
Romasanta said the POC held planning sessions earlier this week to “revisit plans that worked or didn’t work.”
He said the course was laid out for the POC’s “general direction” during the third term and hopefully the last for his boss, former Tarlac solon Jose Cojuangco Jr. And that’s to improve “on all fronts” at the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games and the Olympics.
Joey says the main target remains ending the search for the country’s Holy Grail, its first Olympic gold medal.
The POC’s planning meetings are a load of nonsense, says an exasperated former POC official I won’t name because the person dreads being branded “an enemy of the state.”
Like before, Cojuangco and company would find a little heaven in their meetings, pronouncements, etc., but sports followers would find pure hell in the results, the ex-POC official said.
The plans accomplished nothing in eight years, they’d accomplish zero in the next four, the person said.
“The POC management is great at spinning things in the media. Nothing will change and that’s the bottom line.”
* * *
Isabela’s ribbon of highways is among the best in Luzon; it would give the road networks of Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Cagayan a run for their money.
Driving in the province is as smooth as silk, except for long stretches in the towns of Quezon and Santa Maria towns. The highway appears perfect until you drive over unexpected cracks surprisingly missed and not patched by the area’s highway district.